Every now and again a product comes along that completely redefines mountain biking. Suspension forks did this. Disc brakes did this, and dropper posts are arguably such a product. There is no argument, Nzo’s Cruiseliner shorts are not such a product- they’re only under-shorts after all, and when was the last time underpants were credited with changing the world? OK, fine, you got me - Superman. But(t) all that aside, these are without a doubt the best chamois shorts I’ve used.
What’s so great about them? I’ll make a list: the fit is great. They’re notably not designed just for 4% body-fat athletes. That doesn’t mean they’re baggy (that’s what NZO’s outer shorts are for), it means they fit without pinching or bunching anywhere, even when I’m ‘winter-weight’. The much-wider-than-usual waist elastic is a big part of this, such that, aside from bib-shorts, these are most comfortable cycling chamois shorts around the waist that I’ve ridden in. I do like bib shorts, especially for really long rides, but bibs are not always ideal – for instance, these are so much easier to take a nature break with, noticeably cooler on a hot day, and you can’t accidentally forget to put the bib-straps on and be reminded of it by a stranger as the straps dangle out the back, threatening to get caught in the rear wheel (I was the stranger on this occasion).
Also, the legs do not have grippy bits at the bottom of them to ensure your tan lines are really sharp – nope, they’re free to sit where your leg moving up and down wants them to sit – ideal. Next point: the legs are made from a mesh material that breathes really well and is sometimes noticeably breezy, especially if your outer shorts have mesh bits in them too. It does mean that if you ditch your baggies and go for a swim you’ll be wearing fitted tight black mesh shorts, which may be something you do anyway – I don’t judge. Luckily, the front and back middle portions are not mesh material, so you won’t, legally speaking, be exposing yourself. In any case, despite the name, these aren’t made for swimming in the pineapple-shaped pools of cruiseliners, they’re made for riding in. Speaking of which, the super-comfy chamois is just the right thickness, it sits in the right place (unlike some of my shorts where the most important part of the chamois sits half-way up my back – what’s that about?) and it’s soft on the skin. I still use chamois cream on longer rides, but on shorter rides I don’t have the need to.
What else? They last for ages and they’re affordable. The best chamois shorts are usually really expensive. While more expensive than a Farmers 12 pack of briefs, for a riding short, the Cruiseliner DeLuxe is a bargain. Any niggles? Only that you won’t have much use for most of your other chamois shorts once you have a pair (or two) of these.